Online Poker Bill Approved by California CommitteePublished May 3, 2016 by Elana K
On April 27, the California Assembly Governmental Organization Committee approved Assemblyman Adam Gray’s bill, AB 2863, which would regulate online gambling.
On April 27, the California Assembly Governmental Organization Committee approved Assemblyman Adam Gray’s bill, AB 2863, which would regulate online gambling in the Golden State. The committee heard over two hours of testimony, including Poker Players Alliance spokesman John Pappas and various tribal representatives. The committee finally approved the bill in a vote of 18-0, excluding one aspect that they could not agree upon: the “bad actors” clause.
The “Bad Actors” Clause
The term “bad actor” refers to any online gaming company that continued to operate even after the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) was passed in 2006. Including a bad actors clause in the California bill would essentially punish those operators by limiting or prohibiting their participation in the state's operations. The three states that have legalized online gambling so far - Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey - have all included some form of bad actor clause in their regulations.
In the case of California, the tribal factions are split over the bad actors clause - some want the suitability of each individual operator to be determined by the state’s gaming regulators, without specific language included in the bill; others want the bill to define what constitutes a bad actor and to include those specifications in the language of the bill itself.
Race Tracks On Board
California’s racetracks have their own vested interest in seeing online gambling legalized; Gray promised them $60 million a year from online gambling revenue, a promise which is included in the text of the bill. His negotiations worked - almost all race tracks voiced their support of the bill at the committee hearing.
The Next Step
In order for the bill to progress forward, the issue of the bad actors clause needs to be resolved. Gray promised to hold meetings with the various tribes in order to reach a conclusion and to push the bill forward. It's a daunting task, but the bill's approval this far is reason enough for hope.